A/N: Hello there! Yes I'm back and I've brought with me some old friends. Those of you who have read LP4 will recognise most of the characters (although most belong to JKR anyway) and storylines (which belong to me) but it's been a while since we visited, so hopefully, we'll be seeing how some of our old friends are getting on, as well as introducing new storylines for the new generation. That's what this book is about, blending those from LP4 with the Next Gen characters I neglected in the previous book. If you haven't read "Problems" then most of it is fairly self-explanatory. I hope you enjoy and for those James/Hayley lovers out there, the wait is over :P HP
Not for the first time in her life, Lily Luna Potter was wondering exactly what her best friend was doing and why on earth she was indeed her best friend. Kelly Alice Longbottom was grinning like an idiot as Lily poured the foul liquid over her head, massaging it into her scalp with gloved hands. Kelly had always been a fan of the more traditional way of doing things, but even Lily thought she had to draw the line somewhere.
"Are you sure I can’t tempt you Lils?” Kelly wheedled as Lily put on a forced smile. “You know you’d look gorgeous as a bottle-blonde. The boys wouldn’t be able to resist you!”
Lily sighed and considered reeling off a list of reasons why she wasn’t going to be tempted. For starters, she liked her hair the vibrant red colour that it was, it reminded her of her grandmother, who it was said she looked exactly like. Even if by some miracle Kelly did tempt her into dying her hair, she wasn’t going blonde, more than likely she’d go darker. And even then, she’d use magic and certainly not trust her best friend to do it. Not after last time. Lily glanced in the mirror and glanced wistfully at her butchered hair, which had never fully recovered from when Kelly had last meddled. And she wasn’t even going to start on the boys’ comment.
“No thanks Kel,” Lily smiled. “But why tonight of all nights? You know how important tomorrow is!”
“Oh relax Lily,” Kelly laughed, glancing up at her best friend, who was still massaging the poison into Kelly’s thick black locks. “You’re always far too uptight when it comes to this sort of stuff.”
“Uptight!” Lily exclaimed, indicating to her own hair and Kelly shrugged. “Look what you did.”
“I thought you looked hot!” Kelly protested as Lily glared. It had been less than a couple of days before they’d left Hogwarts when Kelly had magically dared Lily to chop her hair off. The consequences had been disastrous. Some of it had grown back, but Lily still felt shorn and missed her long hair. Her glare eventually subsided but Kelly was getting on her nerves.
“That’s it,” Lily smiled. “You’re all done. Leave it in for 45 minutes and then wash it out, I’m going to socialise.
Lily and Kelly were sitting in one small compartment of an enormous tent which housed the entire Potter/Weasley clan plus extras. Whilst all the parents were housed up in the Burrow, the others were in the garden in the tent. Lily and Kelly had one section and as she slipped out into the main room, Lily acknowledged the hustle and bustle of her family and their friends. Lily had a big family and they had all gathered for this, the biggest of events. It was the night before Teddy and Victoire’s wedding and everyone was excited. The bride and groom themselves were out on the town with their friends, with one notable exception who was currently grinning at his little sister. James Potter, her oldest brother. His dark, messy hair and brown eyes made him apparently attractive, but for Lily, he was just her brother. His arms were linked with Hayley Black-Hunt, his girlfriend of over a year. They’d been to Hogwarts together and, it was safe to say, fallen well and truly in love. Hayley was slender and elegant, with hair as black as James’ and stunning blue eyes that pierced even the most hard-hearted soul. To James’ left, his two best mates: Fred Weasley and Josh Phillips. Fred was her cousin and dark-skinned, haired and eyed. Josh in contrast, was pale, although he still managed to pull off the tall, dark and handsome look as well as the other two boys did.
“Hey sis,” James greeted, ushering away Fred and Josh and whispering something to Hayley before heading over to hug Lily, who was slightly taken-aback. “How are things?”
“What do you want?” Lily laughed, finding his affection amusing. “You’re never normally so…huggy.”
“A word,” James smiled. “In private.”
Lily raised an eyebrow but didn’t question him, following him to the side compartment where Hayley and he had taken up residence for the night. James looked around to make sure nobody was watching then pulled out a small box with a ring in it. Lily looked at it dumbstruck for a moment, then it hit her and she squealed, jumping up and down and shaking her brother emphatically. James grinned like an idiot as Lily examined the ring and then punched him.
“Have you asked her yet?” she asked, beaming.
“She hit me,” James replied. “And then she said yes.”
Lily screamed like a moron, leaping on James, who tried to contain the exploding ball of happiness that was his baby sister. Not so baby anymore, she was crushing him to death. It was just a shame that Albus wasn’t around to see it. But they had heard virtually nothing of him since he and Scorpius Malfoy had disappeared off the face of the earth a year and a half ago. Lily let go of James and grinned, her hair getting in her eyes as she turned away.
“Nobody else knows, not even Fred and Nicky,” James explained. “We’re waiting until the wedding’s finished, I can’t bear to steal Teddy’s thunder. But I had to tell you, I’ve been going mad keeping it to myself.”
“I’m touched James,” Lily smiled. Whilst she had never had anything against her brother and their relationship had always been friendly, she never would have realised how close they had become over the last few months and how much he really meant to her. She refused to get soppy, but she was honoured James considered her one of the first people he would tell. James followed her out of the compartment, both of them unable to avoid beaming like mad people as James headed back over to his friends. Lily looked back across the room, examining her cousins and various other family members.
There were those who didn’t go to Hogwarts anymore, such as Molly, who was now working in the Ministry for Magic and no less of a prude because of it. There were those in her year, such as Kelly, Neville Stone (son of her dad’s cousin Lucy and her hunky husband Tom) and her cousin Hugo, whose curly brown hair and meek appearance made him somewhat a target for cuteness. Then there was Molly’s sister Lucy, but she never spoke to anyone so that hardly counted. Then there was the youngest, little Louis, who was only 12 but still a Gryffindor at heart. He was the youngest of three, Victoire being the eldest. His other sister Dominique was best friends with Hugo’s sister, Rose. Rose and Dom were in 7th year and were literally on top of the school. Rose was Head Girl and Dom was Quidditch Captain and they had almost every boy in the upper years chasing after them. They were both very girly and yet very tomboyish, always in style and equally likely to be found in a dress as in jeans. And, as infuriating as it was, it was impossible to hate them, because they were both impossibly nice people. They were normal and laughed and didn’t act as though they ruled the place, even though they did.
Rose had long, sleek hair, dyed a jet black, even darker than James’. She had always complained about being Weasley ginger like Roxanne, Fred’s sister and had been jealous of Lily’s ruby red locks, so had one day just decided to punish the aforementioned ginger. Dom had also dyed her hair, going against the Delacour veela blonde and going chocolate brown, before chopping the majority of it off. Both girls were beyond gorgeous, tall, skinny, yet with curves in all the right places. Lily looked up to them, but they were her equals, not beyond a chat with their younger cousin. Roxanne Weasley was also older than her, in her 6th year compared to Lily’s 5th. Roxanne was much paler than Fred, her father dominating her genetic structure as she looked every ounce George Weasley. Her best friend was Jake Black-Hunt; Hayley’s little brother and the pair were inseparable, wreaking havoc on the students of Hogwarts as the best pranking pair since Fred and James, which admittedly, was only a year or so before their time.
Lily grinned satisfied as she looked around the busy tent. Her family; her crazy, madcap family. She glanced at her watch and swore under her breath. Kelly would be waiting for her. Sure enough, as she turned back towards her compartment, a deafening scream rang out and Lily winced, worried about exactly what damage she had done to her best friend, hoping the peroxide hadn’t burned a hole in Kelly’s scalp. As Lily pushed past the fabric, she burst into laughter, as Kelly glared furiously. Her hair was green. Green as in grass green. Lily managed to stop herself laughing long enough to look seriously at Kelly, and then fell back into hysterics, rolling on the floor as tears fell from her eyes.
“This isn’t funny Lily!” Kelly whined. “Look what you did to my hair.”
Lily stood up, managing to resist the urge for almost half a minute before the laughter overcame her again. Kelly was fuming and looked frantically in the mirror, picking at the green-stained blonde strands that were on top of her head. Lily finally beat her laughing fit and stood behind Kelly, fully relishing the opportunity to tease her best friend.
“I dunno, I think it looks kind of sexy,” Lily laughed. “The boys will be falling over themselves to get a good look at you. I would say I told you so, but really, I think we’re a bit beyond that now aren’t we Kel?”
“You’re enjoying this aren’t you?” Kelly snarled.
“Well can you stop enjoying it long enough to give me a hand fixing it?”
“Give me a minute, I want to commit this moment to memory.”
“Oh alright then,” Lily sighed, then pulled out her wand, muttering a few charms which quickly set in, fixing Kelly as she relaxed, managing not to panic as Lily rolled her eyes, sitting back and letting her spells do all the work. It was hard to not to feel smug as she was proved right, not for the first time, and as Kelly’s hair was now a soft blonde, she span and hugged Lily powerfully, knocking the slight girl off her feet.
“You’re the best chick,” Kelly grinned. “Now let’s get out there and show the family who the best 5th years in the school are!”
“Has anyone ever told you that you’re completely deranged?” Lily asked, smiling. “Because if not, they really should have by now.”
“You do Lils,” Kelly laughed, a clear laugh that seemed to send males scurrying the other way. “All the fucking time.”
“Well someone has to,” Lily smirked. “Or else you’d get lulled into a false sense of security that you’re normal and we can’t have that now, can we?”
Lily could tell that Roxanne was up to no good. She had the look that she always got when she was up to no good. The look usually meant get as far away as you can, so when Roxanne caught her eye and headed over to her, Lily couldn’t help but think the best thing to do was dive for cover. Roxanne smiled brightly and Lily relaxed a touch. Roxanne was never malicious, if she did something, it was more for fun than anything else and people rarely got hurt. Although when she was little, Lily had stolen Roxy’s doll and the older girl had turned her purple. Lily had cried for hours. George had never been more proud of his daughter.
“Hey Lily,” Roxanne greeted, smiling. “I’m going to break into the kitchen, nab us some food. Want anything? Not all my schemes are evil,” she added when she saw the relieved look on Lily’s face. “Just the ones I make on a full stomach, otherwise the hunger just wins and then I end up plotting stupid things about food. Like when we pelted the Slytherins with strawberries…”
Lily never knew when to laugh when talking to Roxanne but she managed to grin and shake her head, politely replying that she wasn’t hungry. Lily slipped past Roxanne with Kelly in tow and found herself face to face with Hugo, someone she was more than happy to talk to.
“Hey Hugh,” she smiled. “How are things?”
“Not bad,” Hugo replied sheepishly. “But mum’s dragging Rose and me to her cousin’s daughter’s birthday party next week. She wants us both to get in touch with our ‘muggle roots’, whatever the hell that means.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine Hugh,” Lily smiled graciously. “I’ll let you and Kelly catch up, I’ve got something to do quickly.”
Lily again found herself moving quickly, to where she had spotted Lorcan and Lysander Scamander heading out of a compartment, heading in opposite directions, with Dom and Rose following Lorcan. Lysander was looking a touch forlorn and Lily caught up with him, smiling at him. The Scamander twins were in the year above Lily but below Dom and Rose. They were both blonde haired and blue eyed although Lily noted, and it was a crying shame, that Lysander’s hair had been cut crudely short. Whilst she had no real interest in his brother, she had developed something of a crush on Lysander for all their chats in the previous year. And yet, she was worried he didn’t see her as more than a mate.
“Hi Lysander,” Lily said, sidling in beside him.
“Hi Lily,” Lysander replied. “I haven’t seen you all summer, where have you been hiding out?”
Lily blushed slightly and hoped he didn’t spot it. He must’ve done just that because he smiled gently and examined Lily loosely, his smile growing.
“I’ve been here and there,” Lily replied with a nervous laugh. “I haven’t seen you in a while Scamander, how did the OWLs go?”
“Well enough to get my on the NEWT courses I wanted. My parents weren’t really fussed, although they were a bit miffed I dropped CoMC, especially seeing as Hagrid’s teaching it. Which, if I’m honest, is why I dropped it,” Lysander admittedly guiltily. “Although I’ve never been a fan of it anyway. And I also have to admit, I love your hair short, when did you do that?”
Lily’s blush grew and she tried to hide it from Lysander.
“Just before the holidays, though I did try to hide it,” she chuckled. “I must’ve cried for like four days straight.”
“You shouldn’t,” Lysander replied smiling. “It looks sweet, almost sexy.”
“You should’ve seen it before it grew,” Lily shuddered. “You look like you want to join the army.”
Lysander laughed but it was hollow and Lily worried she’d offended him. But he was still smiling warmly and he put his arm around her. Lily tried to maintain her composure but she could feel her face burning and Lysander withdrew his hand hastily, not wanting to embarrass her further.
“Dom cornered me,” he admitted. “I hate it but there you go. At least I still look like Lorcan.”
Lily cursed Dom silently for ruining Lysander’s dreamy hair then focused on the task in hand, keeping her face from burning furiously.
“I’ll sit with you at the wedding tomorrow?” Lily asked, mentally punching herself for having such a lame line.
“Ah I would Lils, but we’ve got to sit with the family, Lorc and I,” Lysander smiled. “Another time though and I expect we’ll bump into each other, it’s a smallish garden.”
“Yeah, of course!” Lily replied, still beating herself up over her stupidity. Lysander had strolled off and Lily turned her frustration onto the tent wall, banging her head against it. “Stupid Lily, stupid,” she muttered. Then realisation hit her. Lysander liked her hair. He had called her almost sexy. It looked as though Kelly could do something right after all. Lily smiled to herself. That was why they were best friends.
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